Citizens Academy generates police respect in Albany

APD Chief John Proctor stands with a Citizens Academy graduate. / Jessica Fairley

The Albany Police Department held its 26th Citizens Academy graduation Tuesday evening.

After a 14 week course, 16 students were pinned and sent out into the community with a new awareness and appreciation for the APD.

"It just gives me a whole different view of the police department and how it operates," says Leo Bowersox.

Bowersox was awarded for perfect attendance. During the course he and others learned the ins and outs of the Gang Task Force, K-9 unit and Homicide division. He even had the chance to ride along with a cop.

"I know one thing, if I'm in a situation and a policeman gives me an order, I'm going to follow it because that's one of the first things that we learned is that the policeman has the authority to tell you what to do," says Leo Bowersox.

He isn't the only one with a new respect for the force. Tamaria LeRoy says she also learned a lesson or two.

"I used to think that if I saw them driving without the lights on I'd just assume that they were taking advantage of their authority," says Tamaria LeRoy.

She found out that depending on the call, an officer may not need his lights on.

Chief John proctor says the program creates awareness within the community because what the students learn in class, they go home and share with their families.

"What I'd like to do is create raving fans for the Albany Police Department and expose our organization to as many citizens as possible so that they can understand what it is that we do," says APD Chief John Proctor.

He says the police department belongs to the citizens and they should know about the entity that they own.

All graduates went home with a pin and a certificate for completion of the course.